Not a Cold Eye

The works of Flannery O’Connor are not for everyone. A fair number of fellow readers that I’ve encountered have been repulsed by her violent style, her grotesque images, and her gothic setting. This is fair enough, I suppose. Some of these readers, though, are discerning enough to recognize her virtues even while not preferring them for themselves. This latter group tend to be religious and literary.

Marilynne Robinson (AP)
Marilynne Robinson (AP)

It was especially disappointing to me, though, to read Marilynne Robinson’s rather cutting remarks towards St. Flannery in her New York Times interview. Frankly, I was shocked that a writer like her—who very much occupies the categories of “religious” and “literary”—should so flatly misunderstand O’Connor. Continue reading Not a Cold Eye

Straight Blows with Crooked Sticks: Flannery O’Connor and the Incarnation in Literature

The Hipster Conservative is pleased to feature this essay from Colin Cutler, who is a teacher, a warrior-poet, and the author of “The Ward of Heaven and the Wyrm in the Sea.”

“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.” ~Flannery O’Connor

Christian art ain’t what it used to be. Compare Veggietales to the Second Shepherd’s Play, Frank Peretti to the Divine Comedy, Beverly Lewis to the Fairie Queene, the Crystal Cathedral (the one in California or the one in Dillwyn, VA) to Notre Dame in Paris. And let’s not start on the music.

It’s my contention that Christian art has lost its soul because Christians have lost sight of what it means for the Logos to have become Sarx—for God to become incarnate and to join Himself with human flesh.  “Christian” art will be neither good nor thoroughly Christian until we regain this understanding.  Since I am a writer, I will take Christian literature as my chief theme and Flannery O’Connor as my chief example.

Flannery O’Connor, a Catholic short story writer from the 1950s, argued that the unique concern of Christianity is the Incarnation: “It’s not a matter in these stories of Do Unto Others.  That can be found in any ethical culture series.  It is the fact of the Word made Flesh.”

Perhaps the most explicitly incarnational of her stories is “Parker’s Back.” Continue reading Straight Blows with Crooked Sticks: Flannery O’Connor and the Incarnation in Literature